If engine downsizing continues, manufacturers will run into emissions and cost problems according to VW's Herbert Diess
25 May 2017

The push to develop ever smaller, downsized engines to meet emissions regulations has peaked, according to Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess.

For more than a decade, manufacturers have focused on developing smaller engines, including families of new, turbo and non-turbo three-cylinder engines, in order to meet laboratory-based emissions regulations.

However, Diess believes the cost of developing even smaller engines, coupled with the onset of better real-world economy testing, means the current status quo on engine sizes is likely to be maintained.

“The reduction in the number of cylinders has achieved its goals,” he said. “Whether it is moving from four cylinders to three or six to four, then we have achieved efficiency benefits while retaining the qualities of driveability. That trend made a lot of sense — but it comes to an end now. If we go smaller, we will run into emissions and cost problems.”

Diess also said the cost of making diesel engines meet new emissions regulations — which he estimated at an average of €1000 (about £850) per car — would mean buyers of small cars would no longer accept the price hike for the fuel-efficiency gain.

“For city and supermini cars, it is likely that 48V hybrid systems will replace diesels, offering the same efficiency for less money. The internal combustion engine has a long life ahead of it yet, but as we hit the limits of thermo-dynamics, then the cost of hybridisation will be less than that of pursuing gains without them.”

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Comments
22

25 May 2017
I was looking forward to the 78cc half-cylinder Passat GTi.

25 May 2017
I'm all for clean efficient engines but let's be honest, for far too long Volkswagen and other prefominantl German brands have been engaging in a war of one-upmanship with regards to engine power, whilst their vehicles have ballooned in size and weight. Every iteration is a few more centimetres longer, wider, heavier than the last with more tech but less focus on making a lightweight vehicle and more on the bragging rights of how powerful it is.
What progress has really been made when you could get 30mpg out of the original GTi but todays model, with all its power can do little better in real world driving?
No-one needs 3-400hp in a hatch. So come on VW et al, why not start to prioritise efficiency from weight saving and drop the 'mine's more powerful than yours' stance - who knows the moyoring public might actually enjoy cars that are more responsive, dynamic and efficient when driven at normal road speeds and not blatting around the 'ring...

25 May 2017
Today's engines are pretty good and if nothing else the current testing regime has achieved some big gains in low speed, low load fuel economy. The focus now needs to be on overall efficiency, which means lower weight, lower drag, energy recovery and better packaging so we can have spacious interiors within a smaller vehicle footprint. It just doesn't make sense to use two tonnes of metal to transport one or two people about.

25 May 2017
Not strictly true - quite a few manufacturers have reduced weight over the last 10 years, BMW in particular, not by a lot 25 - 50kgs per model, but nevertheless a small saving.

25 May 2017
I totally agree with you. It always seemed crazy, if not criminally negligent, for car makers to produce 'everyday' cars capable of double the national speed limit. If they redirected their focus towards efficiency rather than power to enable these ludicrous speeds, we would all benefit.

25 May 2017
I owned a MK7 GTI and would get 30-35 mpg driving it like it was stolen, EASILY achieve 45+ mpg on a motorway run, i found it to be one of the most economical cars ive ever owned, the R i now own, now that is shocking on fuel but it was expected, i do agree though that cars are far too overweight and thats the major problem, remove 10-15% of the weight and the fuel savings would be astronomical!

25 May 2017
I owned a MK7 GTI and would get 30-35 mpg driving it like it was stolen, EASILY achieve 45+ mpg on a motorway run, i found it to be one of the most economical cars ive ever owned, the R i now own, now that is shocking on fuel but it was expected, i do agree though that cars are far too overweight and thats the major problem, remove 10-15% of the weight and the fuel savings would be astronomical!

25 May 2017
VW need 6 cylinder too. Don't make like Volvo a 4 Cylinder brand. Already Mazda & Peugoet are now 4 cylinder brand as well.

25 May 2017
Using a VW example, a Diesel Audi A3 is around £1,500 extra for a diesel (150hp TDI compared to TFSI 1.5 ACT 150hp) which, on paper, will take around 4 years for your average motorist to get back. In the real world my father in laws A3 COD actually betters a friends diesel A3 so that's £1,500 down the drain and he's still got the heavily, noisier, rougher, less fun car.

As for resale value, they're pretty much equal now and who knows where the Diesel price will be in 4 years time.

In reality unless you do 18,000+ a year in a big'ish car (SUV's segment exclude as they've their own rule book) forget it and even then think long and harder about that £300, possibly, a year saving.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

25 May 2017
xxxx wrote:

Using a VW example, a Diesel Audi A3 is around £1,500 extra for a diesel (150hp TDI compared to TFSI 1.5 ACT 150hp) which, on paper, will take around 4 years for your average motorist to get back. In the real world my father in laws A3 COD actually betters a friends diesel A3 so that's £1,500 down the drain and he's still got the heavily, noisier, rougher, less fun car.

As for resale value, they're pretty much equal now and who knows where the Diesel price will be in 4 years time.

In reality unless you do 18,000+ a year in a big'ish car (SUV's segment exclude as they've their own rule book) forget it and even then think long and harder about that £300, possibly, a year saving.

Nobody mentioned hydrogen

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